Paul Davies, deputy editorial page editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer, did not hold back in his Sunday opinion piece. Basically the gist of the article is that, as the title of the article says, "Abraham lays blame on everyone but herself." He's talking about the investigation by a U.S. Subcommittee headed by Arlen Specter into the problems of the Philadelphia Criminal Justice System raised in recent news articles in the Inquirer. Here's some of what he says.
While Abraham was questioning the stories, she also acknowledged many of the problems they highlighted. But she said none of them had anything to do with her. Instead, she blamed judges for low conviction rates, saying they dismiss too many cases to clear their dockets, which may be true. She said the problems surrounding the bail system and witness intimidation have been around since at least 1968 - a not-so-subtle dig at Specter, who was district attorney then.
Because I don't work in the area of criminal law, I am somewhat unfamiliar with most of the issues raised in the article- backlog of criminal cases brought to trial, low conviction rates compared to other cities, and so on.
I do know from handling civil rights cases where Philly cops have injured or killed people while on the beat that there is frequently insufficient investigation by the Police Department and perhaps the DA's Office in those types of cases. In one recent case I represented the family of an individual shot by a police officer. Now, the individual who was shot had a gun. But what I found out during the discovery process and my investigation of the case was that the Philadelphia police officer who had shot and killed my client had been involved in several shootings in his relatively short career up until that time. In fact, he was in one where he had shot and killed a suspect while in uniform, as he had been in the case I handled. The circumstances of both case were similar. When I pointed this out to the defense attorney representing the officer, I distinctly remember her saying "some lawyers like to litigate, and some cops lite to fire shoot their guns." That case settled.
I personally know many law enforcement officers. They are dedicated professionals and they by and large and by design intend on going through their entire careers without discharging their guns in the line of duty if they can. That's why the recent case I just described was so unusual. And, the Police Department was unconcerned about the two shootings buy one Philly cop in a relatively short period of time. I hope going forward changes in the investigation process by the City of Philadelphia where Philly cops injure or kill people while on the job will be better than what I have seen thus far.